Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The 19 Best South African Songs of the Month

Featuring Kabza De Small & DJ Maphorisa, The Big Hash, Nduduzo Makhathini and more.

Our list of the best South African songs of the month includes new singles that dropped in October, alongside those that were highlighted by getting the music video treatment.


Check out our selections below, which feature Costa Titch, Tshego, Kabza De Small & DJ Maphorisa and Big Zulu among others.

The list is in no particular order.

Follow our MZANSI HEAT playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Kabza De Small & DJ Maphorisa "eMcimbini" (featuring Aymos, Samthing Soweto Mas Musiq & Myztro)

Another heater from the duo that can't seem to tire of making hits. "eMcimbini" combines a selection of vocalists for another amapiano anthem.

Tshego "No Ties (Amapiano Remix)" (featuring King Monada and MFR Souls)

The remix for Tshego and King Monada's "No Ties" comes with the customary amapiano bassline and a selection of pads and prominent percussion. Tshego and King Monada's vocals sit as if they were originally constructed over the bouncy instrumental.

​DJ Switch (featuring. Robin Thirdfloor) "Nangu Shoes"

Robin Thirdfloor teams up DJ Switch, a deejay who's always on the lookout for new talent. Robin Thirdfloor delivers laid-back rhymes and pays homage to the late South African soccer legend John "Shoes" Mosheu and lets you know about himself too.

​Skhandaworld "Killa Combo" (featuring K.O, Tellaman, Zingah, Mariechan & Loki)

K.O gathers an unlikely combination of artists for a laidback tune about being a perfect fit for your partner.

​Big Zulu "Amamillion (Remix)" (featuring Zakwe, YoungstaCPT, Musiholiq and Kwesta)

Big Zulu enlists some of the country's hardest lyricists for a remix of his 2019 hit "Amamillion." You'll have this one on repeat, if not for the bars, for the catchy hook.

Kanyi "Lobola"

n her latest song, Kanyi Mavi is whipped. Her love for the man who stole her heart is driving her to pay amalobolo. A progressive move from Kanyi as that's normally the man's role in most African cultures.

​Watermark High "That's the Spirit"

Watermark High kicks off the year with an alt pop tune blends a muffled vocal sample with rich electronic instrumentation. It will come in handy both on the dance floor and for cooling out to.

Gemini Major "Right Now" (featuring Nasty C, Tellaman, AKA, The Big Hash and Emtee)

South African hip-hop royalty in one song that was already great in its original form.

​Costa Titch "Nkalakatha Remix" (featuring AKA and Riky Rick)

Costa Titch gives his AKA and Riky Rick-assisted remix to his viral hit "Nkalakatha" a new life with a music video.

​Kimosabe "Don't Call Me Baby"

A standout song from Kimosabe's latest offering Nights, Vol. 3, "Don't Call Me Baby" is a comforting smoothie in which the artist establishes boundaries for a relationship based on sex and nothing else.

​ByLwansta "The Bike Song"

The talented rapper turns a terrible incident—a robbery in Joburg—into a lovely anecdotal rappity rap song that showcases his top tier pen game.

J Molley and Ka$hCpt "Narcos"

Two South Africa's most popular and talented hip-hop artists go back and forth about living the life you and I only see in series and movies in this viral collaboration.

Nduduzo Makhathini "Beneath The Earth"

Another outstanding composition from Nduduzo Makhathini in which two voices go back and forth about the ancestors (those who are beneath the earth), "Beneath the Earth" is a song from his upcoming album Modes ofCommunication: Lettes from the Underworlds, which will be released via Blue Note Records.

Black Noise "We Belong to the Land" (featuring Burni Aman)

A song about the burning issue of land reform in South Africa, "We Belong to the Land" contains strong performances from Black Noise members Jean Pierre and Emile YX? and guest Burni Aman, who spits the strongest verse which sounds like a modern day fairy tale.

​Maraza "Angisabaleki"

Maraza returns with a single about self-reassurance. Beyond the messaging, the song excels based on Maraza's proficiency with the pen and technical skills.

​M2Kane "Ferrari"

If you prefer your trap with hard bars, don't look further than "Ferrari" by the Eastern Cape lyricist M2Kane.

Blaklez "Lepara"

Blaklez rides a Makwa beat that is inspired by old school kwaito. If you understand Sipitori (Pretoria slang), Blaklez will keep you entertained throughout. If not, the flows and the beat will do.

​Speedsta (featuring Espiquet) "Airplane Mode"

Espiquet always spits solid bars. "Airplane Mode" by Speedsta is another instance of him showcasing his sharp skills on the mic. "Airplane Mode" could have done with a better hook, but it still slaps.

Mr JazziQ (featuring Focalistic & Busta 929) "Hello Mo'Girl"

In true amapiano fashion, the instrumental to "Hello Mo'Girl" is built over a deep bassline reminiscent of 90s and 2000s kwaito. Focalistic raps with the personality and light-heartedness that's at the heart of kwaito and amapiano. His lines are sparse in form and lyrically, they are easy on the ear, with catchphrases that you'll catch if you are educated enough to understand Pitori slang.

Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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